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Dairies Are Awash in Organic Milk as Consumers Jump to Alternatives

Wall Street Journal | Posted on January 2, 2018

Organic milk sales have cooled as the very shoppers who drove demand for the specialty product not long ago move on to newer alternatives, leaving dairy sellers and producers grappling with oversupply. A yearslong surge in demand prompted food companies and dairy farmers to invest in organic production, which requires eschewing pesticides and antibiotics and allowing cows to graze freely. Now, organic-milk supplies have ballooned just as demand has stalled. Many shoppers have moved on to substitutes such as almond “milk,” which contain no dairy.Packaged-food companies that invested in producing organic milk are cutting capacity or looking to turn it into cheese or other products. Grocery stores that rushed to stock organic milk have eased purchases and allotted more dairy-case space to plant-based alternatives. Dairy cooperatives are slashing prices paid to farmers, setting quotas and even selling organic milk as conventional dairy.

Food Swamps Are the New Food Deserts

The Atlantic | Posted on January 2, 2018

The term “food desert” conjures the image of a forlorn citizen, wandering through a barren landscape for miles and miles (or, by definition, for more than a mile) to reach the nearest fresh-food market. Populating food deserts with grocery stores is a favored cause among nutrition advocates, but the concept became controversial after some recent studies found the distance to the nearest grocery store doesn’t correlate with a region’s obesity rate.(Because it’s nutrition, other studies have shown the opposite. Either way, most people would agree it’s nice to be able to buy produce with relative ease, even if doing so doesn’t make you fit into your high-school jeans again.)Now, new research suggests food deserts might not be the culprit—or at least not the only one—for the high prevalence of obesity in certain areas. Instead, food swamps might be to blame.

The New War In Food Delivery Is In The Kitchen

Forbes | Posted on December 26, 2017

Food-delivery startups from DoorDash to Uber Eats to Postmates are all now experimenting with different ways to maximize a restaurant’s kitchen — and in turn, generate more customers and more orders for partner restaurants. The delivery companies’ tactics range from deploying mini kitchen trailers to renting out extra space at fairgrounds to launching online-only companies. In a competitive market estimated to be worth $30 billion, each company is trying to play to its strengths to make sure it is the first app that a customer opens when they’re hungry.

Pennsylvania: Agriculture Department Offers Training to Help Farms Produce Food Safely, Prevent Foodborne Illness

NASDA | Posted on December 21, 2017

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced that the department will sponsor a series of training programs across the state to help farmers grow produce safely, prevent foodborne illness, and comply with new federal standards. The series of one-day training sessions will be held between January and March at seven different locations throughout the state.

Exploring the Wild World of Milk Alternatives

Vogue | Posted on December 18, 2017

A single container of cow’s milk stands, somewhat awkwardly, alone. Why? Because cow’s-milk consumption in this country has plummeted—7 percent in 2015, an 11 percent further drop expected by 2020—and I’m about to taste my way through the wild and woolly world of alternatives. Almond milk may be the lait du moment, having seen sales in this country rise 250 percent from 2012 to 2015. But I have assembled soy, rice, cashew, coconut, macadamia, and pea. I have convened camel, sheep, horse, and goat. Everyone perches on stools and regards the first sample: store-bought soy. We’ve decided to rate each as one would wine, by appearance, aroma, and taste. I’ve added a column for nutritional content. From our notes the soy is “milky, creamy, a little brown, with likable viscosity, not too leggy.” It smells “nice, lightly sweet.” The taste: “a little sweet, a little vegetal. Like food.” The homemade version brings to mind a wonderful healing broth—and I momentarily wonder why we ever milked anything but soy. Almond milks—six different ones—are next. I immediately wish for a spittoon. One, blended with pistachios and hazelnuts, from an Italian company called Mand’Or, includes 23 grams of sugar per serving—more than half a can of Coke. The Blue Diamond brand almond milk (which I bought unthinkingly for my twelve dairy-free months of nursing) is “grayish,” “smelly,” and “tastes like salty wastewater.” Quinoa milk is muddy, thin, and reminiscent of the liquid left in the pot after cooking quinoa. Tiger nut—not a nut but a little sedge tuber—is very sweet and very beige, with tiny particles floating throughout and a faint savor of rubber. Flax milk (“pearly white,” “appropriately thick”) is tasteless. 

Hamburger chain Wendy's to reduce antibiotic use in beef supply

Reuters | Posted on December 18, 2017

Hamburger chain Wendy’s Co laid out plans to trim the use of antibiotics that are important to human medicine from its beef supply.

The Silicon Valley paradox: one in four people are at risk of hunger

The Guardian | Posted on December 18, 2017

One in four people in Silicon Valley are at risk of hunger, researchers at the Second Harvest food bank have found. Using hundreds of community interviews and data modeling, a new study suggests that 26.8% of the population – almost 720,000 people – qualify as “food insecure” based on risk factors such as missing meals, relying on food banks or food stamps, borrowing money for food, or neglecting bills and rent in order to buy groceries. Nearly a quarter are families with children. “We call it the Silicon Valley paradox,” says Steve Brennan, the food bank’s marketing director. “As the economy gets better we seem to be serving more people.” Since the recession, Second Harvest has seen demand spike by 46%.

The simple way we might turn food waste into green energy

NBC | Posted on December 18, 2017

Scientists have been looking for solutions to the food waste problem, and now researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, think they've hit upon a possible fix. They say that by making use of a pair of simple chemical processes — hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion — we could turn food waste into environmentally friendly biofuel.

Your mood depends on the food you eat, and what you should eat changes as you get older

Science Daily | Posted on December 18, 2017

Diet and dietary practices differentially affect mental health in young adults versus older adults, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York. Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, along with fellow Binghamton researchers, conducted an anonymous internet survey, asking people around the world to complete the Food-Mood Questionnaire (FMQ), which includes questions on food groups that have been associated with neurochemistry and neurobiology. Analyzing the data, Begdache and Assistant Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Nasim Sabounchi found that mood in young adults (18-29) seems to be dependent on food that increases availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain (meat). However, mood in mature adults (over 30 years) may be more reliant on food that increases availability of antioxidants (fruits) and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system (coffee, high glycemic index and skipping breakfast).

Consumers increasingly dictate production, retail placement through emerging fork-to-farm model

Food Navigator | Posted on December 18, 2017

Increasingly savvy shoppers who are well-versed in food production and nutrition are turning the tables on the farm-to-fork marketing model that once educated them and inuenced what they consumed to create a fork-tofarm model that requires producers, manufacturers and retailers to meet their continuously changing preferences for new products and increased quality, according to Rabobank analysts.